All forms of legal gambling in Ohio continue to grow this year even after the addition of sports betting in Ohio, which launched on Jan. 1.
Ohio’s casinos and racinos are on track to top last year’s revenue records, and Ohio Lottery sales are up, too.
Here’s why Ohio sports betting hasn’t negatively affected the state’s other gambling sectors — and how it might actually be helping them.
Casino, racino, lottery sales up in 2023
Ohio sports betting launched to huge success in January, and handle has remained impressive each month. The state took over $3 billion in sports bets in its first four months, signaling that the state could rank among the top-three sports betting markets in the country. By contrast, the Ohio Lottery is the ninth-biggest lottery in the U.S. by sales.
Still, any concerns that sports betting would cut into revenue from other gambling sectors haven’t materialized.
Ohio casinos brought in 3.5% more in the first quarter this year than they did last year, for an increase of $11.6 million. Collectively, March was the highest-earning month on record for the casinos. The Ohio Lottery saw $1.07 billion in sales in the first quarter of 2023, up 10% from a year ago.
Even with the added convenience of online sports betting, the new option hasn’t negatively affected the Lottery. About 98% of sports bets placed in Ohio are done via sportsbook apps.
“Sports betting has managed to draw new customers to the Ohio gambling market without diminishing the existing patron base,” says Danny Cross, PlayOhio managing editor. “Based on the sales data, traditional lottery and casino players have continued their habits, while sports betting provides an additional revenue stream for the state government.”
Ohio Lottery relies on brick-and-mortar sales
The Ohio Lottery has yet to launch its own online lottery option, but third party companies Jackpocket and Jackpot.com make it possible for Ohioans to purchase lottery tickets using a mobile device. Online lottery options provide a boon to lottery sales in states like Pennsylvania and Michigan, where they offer a variety of online instant games in addition to e-tickets for existing draw games.
However, lottery games are ubiquitous in the brick-and-mortar arena. The Ohio Lottery reaches customers through more than 9,800 retailers in the state. Ohio residents would be hard pressed to find a gas station or convenience store that doesn’t advertise lottery games.
Sports betting, lottery have different demographics
While the points of access to sports betting and lottery products don’t overlap much, the demographics of their respective bettors also differs.
Lottery is the most popular form of gambling in the U.S. A 2017 Gallup poll found that 49% of Americans say they buy lottery tickets.
A study by the Journal of Gambling Studies found that people in the lowest fifth of income spend more on lottery tickets than those with higher incomes. More men buy tickets than women, and whites are more likely to have bought tickets than other races. Black gamblers spend more on the lottery on average than whites. Sixty-one percent of 31- to 40-year-olds buy lottery tickets, and older folks are less likely to do so.
Sports betting isn’t directly a competitor to the Lottery, as it taps into a different market. According to market research firm Ipsos, sports bettors are mostly male, white, younger, and make more money.
Lottery directly involved in sports betting via kiosks
In Ohio, the Lottery gets a boost from sports betting via the revenue made on betting kiosks located at nearly 1,000 bars and other locations.
The Ohio Lottery Commission is responsible for licensing and regulating the kiosk proprietors and operators, and it gets a cut of the revenue made on the machines.
But the kiosk market is a tiny sliver of the overall pie. In the first four months, the Lottery’s share of the revenue was $103,894.